I have been catching crap lately from my atheist friends because I still celebrate Christmas. They all wonder why I do this?
“It is a religious holiday!” they say with tones that are so loud and so chest-thumping. They think themselves so much more superior than I am because they don’t. They scream with passioned fury about how they are going to stick it to the faith community by not embracing the fact that they seem required to celebrate this holiday. But these people don’t see things the way that I do. They don’t see what I am getting at when I reply that I don’t celebrate it for the religious or the commercial angle. But what other angle is there?
The truth is that Christmas began as a pagan holiday, the celebration of the winter solstice. It was a time when people were thankful to be alive, and to see the marvelous white world of ice and cold, because it is beautiful, in its own right. Somewhere along the way, early Christians realized that this was a day for the taking. Like most things that Christians took, it was by force, and to hell with those who they took it from (remind anyone of Glenn Beck’s rally?) So, now they had this convenient day, and it was their’s now.
But when you take a step back, and look at things logically, it isn’t a religious holiday anymore. It may be at heart, but America figured out a long time ago that anything can be economically exploited. They realized that here was a day that was perfectly suited to being used to make money. Take a look at some videos on Youtube, like this one, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Capitalism makes such lovely people, doesn’t it?
But there is a different reason for it all, the reason that I still choose, and will always choose, to celebrate this holiday. There is a reason that stands above anything else for me, a reason that transcends people and religion, or the commercial opportunities and the gift-giving, which is becoming so expensive anymore. There is a reason that is beyond that, and I love this reason. My reason, is because it is a time to feel good.
Walk down the street in main-stream America during the holiday season, what do you see? You see a large percentage of people just looking happy. You see people being warm and fuzzy with one-another, and they all just seem to want the days to get better. The only pity is that this kind of attitude doesn’t continue the whole year round. Everybody wants to be nice to everybody (granted, there are exceptions, but let’s not go into an argument about how the holidays suck), and the world just seems to sigh a relief. I earnestly wonder if it is the same everywhere. I would love to spend a holiday season in somewhere like Japan or England or wherever and see if they have the same feeling of trying to just care about each other as much as they can.
This is why I celebrate, because there is a time in the year when people just want to be nice to people, when we are encouraged to feel good (don’t pay attention to politics). It also a time when the world just seems a little brighter. It has always been like this for me. When I was a little kid, and I would go to the family gatherings on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it was a great day. The family would put aside their arguments for the idea that this is a day when the world is supposed to treat each other right. It is a couple of days when none of the petty bullshit that people fight over, like religion, matters, because we have to look out for each other.
That is why I celebrate the holiday. It exemplifies a belief that the human race shouldn’t be fighting, that we need to stick together, because we’re all we’ve got. There is no god coming for us. There are no spirits working with us. We are all we have, and we are not looking good for lasting as a species. I am really hoping that I’m wrong, but I don’t know. I wish the kind of goodness that I celebrate would continue for the whole year, but that may just be a child’s dream.
I will keep celebrating, because it is just me hoping that the human race will finally grow up!
Until next time, a quote,
“We can’t take care of ourselves yet, and we want to save the planet?!” -George Carlin